July 24, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

McMahon, Ferris and McGovern: Not your usual transfer story -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women’s lacrosse defeats Richmond 10-6 to win sixth straight A-10 Championship -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No. 13 UMass women’s lacrosse knocks off Duquesne 16-3 to reach Atlantic 10 finals -

Friday, May 2, 2014

UMass one of 55 schools currently facing investigation over handling of sexual assault cases -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two thefts reported at library -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senior Columns 2013-2014 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass Dining proposes major meal plan changes -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass baseball beats UConn for first time since 2007 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTV’s seemingly controversial new show proves to be ‘Faking It’ -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Community members offer suggestions on plans for the future of UMass

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The University of Massachusetts is in the process of creating a long-term plan that will attempt to ensure a positive future for the campus.

That was the sentiment that Dennis Swinford, the director of campus planning at UMass, expressed at an open forum on a campus master plan last Wednesday.

“We are creating a long-term campus master plan for this process,” Swinford, who was appointed to his post last September, said at the onset of the roughly three-hour-long forum. “We don’t want to do today something that will limit our process in the future.”

As part of the process of creating a master plan – which is a detailed sketch of what the physical campus will look like in the years to come – Swinford is working with a team of officials, including individuals from architectural and engineering firms, to determine what should be included in the scheme.

While nothing is seemingly set in stone yet for the plan, Swinford gave attendees of the forum – which was the third such meeting on developing a master plan – a presentation on areas and places on campus that are currently being looked at to improve or update over the next several years.

“Right now, we’re looking at the whole campus,” said Swinford, who detailed some of the areas being considered in a slideshow. 

Swinford’s presentation included a listing of buildings on campus that the planners are suggesting should be replaced or renovated in the next several years. It also broke down how much space in square feet is currently being occupied by structures on campus and included a map detailing how streets and other items around the main campus can be further developed.

Additionally, Swinford provided outlines of past master and development plans of the campus, and noted that one goal of the current plan is to preserve and improve open spaces on the property.

“One of the biggest systems that makes a campus a campus is the open space system,” he said.

“It’s this notion of creating campus; not just building buildings, but building a campus,” Swinford added.

A number of students, faculty and community members raised concerns and offered suggestions on the master plan during the meeting.

Randy Phillis, an associate professor of biology and the president of the UMass branch of the Massachusetts Society of Professors, the faculty union, was one of the most vocal participants in the discussion. Among his concerns was that the process of constructing or renovating structures could have a negative effect on people’s work.

“This is an extraordinary burden in real time for people that are going through the transitional phase,” Phillis said at one point during the forum. He added that he advocates for a “careful planning” process.

Some of the other concerns raised by forum participants were about possible plans to improve parking, the future of North Pleasant Street and ongoing construction research near Tobin Hall, which some felt was hindering research exercises from taking place inside the building. Concerns were also raised about the upcoming construction of the Commonwealth Honors College complex. That project has already been given the go-ahead and is not necessarily a large part of the current master plan process.

One student, who left the meeting before he could be identified by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, also suggested that the master plan include a way to better connect the University with the greater Amherst community. He added that there should be a way for people to be able to quickly “sweep into UMass,” and see the library, the campus pond and a show at the Fine Arts Center.

At the conclusion of the forum, Swinford noted that the planning process is still ongoing, and suggested that many members of the community continue to participate in it.

“I think it’s important that we begin to create … planning on campus,” he said.  “By your participation, you’re supporting us.”

Another open forum on the master plan will take place on Wednesday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Reading Room. Swinford is hoping to have a draft of the master plan by the beginning of the fall 2011 semester.

William Perkins can be reached at wperkins@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Community members offer suggestions on plans for the future of UMass”
  1. Mike L. says:

    Umass should invest in academics first and buildings second. Protect and elevate the Umass name through reputation of academic excellence and challenge and not that it has a good looking campus. How will a good looking campus serve you once you have graduated? Alas with the corporate model most big universities are adapting today they choose to attract students with “quality of life” aspects before academics. These aesthetic improvements will be rolled into the costs of attending. All this new construction just causes students to get less education for their dollar, and good looking sidewalks and trees.

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